Denny Hamlin suggests how NASCAR should officiate restarts

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DARLINGTON, S.C. – Denny Hamlin says he hopes NASCAR officials consider his suggestion about restarts after issues were raised before the Bristol race two weeks ago.

Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, car owner Chip Ganassi and Hamlin had questions or raised points about restarts during the drivers meeting before the Bristol race. Their comments came in light of what some viewed as inconsistent officiating by NASCAR across its national series. NASCAR was vocal on its radio channel – monitored by teams – during the Bristol race about drivers staying close together on restarts.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was among those saying after the Bristol race that NASCAR needed to do a better job policing restarts.

Hamlin’s point in the Bristol drivers meeting was that NASCAR should make it a rule that the leader must be the first car to cross the start/finish line on a restart. Richard Buck, managing director for the Cup series, told Hamlin in the meeting they could discuss that at another time.

Restarts could be key in tonight’s Southern 500 on NBC because the groove is narrow at Darlington Raceway, putting more emphasis on getting a good start.

“Where they have the rule now, where the No. 2 (car) can beat the No. 1 (car) to the line, then it opens itself to being subjective,’’ Hamlin said. “ ‘Well, did the first-place guy spin his tires?’ I think that’s going to be hard to see from a tower, I really do. I don’t think that they know when we get in the gas and when we do not get in the gas.

“Ultimately, you’d have to see that in data after the race. To me, that’s why I think it should be simplified and you just know that the first-place guy has got to win to the line. After that you can do whatever you want. When we opened it up to allowing the second-place guy to beat (the leader to the line), then it just become a bunch of games. I think that needs to be addressed. I’m sure they’re going to look at that in the future. I haven’t talked to them more about it. I’m just hoping they listen to what I’m saying now.’’